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Kevin Bachus Talks Next-Gen Console Wars 95

Posted by Zonk
from the finally-a-real-fight dept.
conq writes "In a piece on BusinessWeek, former Microsoft exex Kevin Bachus, who was part of the team who pitched the XBox to Bill Gates gives his opinion on the Microsoft/Sony gaming war: '...I believe that regardless of who comes out on top this time, the margin will be the closest it's been since the heady days of Nintendo and Sega. And as always, the winners will be the consumers and the publishers.'"
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Kevin Bachus Talks Next-Gen Console Wars

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  • Kevin Bachus? (Score:3, Informative)

    by rudy_wayne (414635) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:00PM (#15149879)
    Is the guy from the Phantom console scam?

  • former Microsoft exex Kevin Bachus
    Microsoft kills their employees over, and over, again! ;)
    • I wonder if he's allowed to drink on the job, like his namesake :)

      Bacchus' Wine grants beserk status, so obviously he'll continue to work until the battle is over, even if he's already been fired.
  • Oh really? (Score:4, Funny)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:04PM (#15149934)
    Bill Gates gives his opinion on the Microsoft/Sony gaming war:

    Gates later expounded that the army has acheived a stunning victory on the african front, completely routing our enemies in Eurasia and taking over a million prisoners. In other news, chocolate rations will be increased to 25 grams a week...

    //two can play at hyperbole!
  • by Necoras (918009) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:04PM (#15149942)
    As the PSP and various other high end systems have proven, it really doesn't matter what kind of hardware you have in your box if your games don't live up to it. I rather hope that next gen games will focus more on being fun to play, and more importantly fun to replay, than just fun to look at. I'm not too optimistic on the MS and Sony front as I've seen the crap titles that launched with the 360 and Sony's too bogged down with hardware problems to worry about listening to users. The Revolution looks promising in it's own way, but if it can't pick up a decent marketshare then all of the gimmiks in the world won't save it. We can only hope that the best games will come out on top, and not the best hardware tech.
    • The Revolution looks promising in it's own way, but if it can't pick up a decent marketshare then all of the gimmiks in the world won't save it


      Usually Nintendo's best games are made by Nintendo so I don't see that even being a problem. Look at N64, not many third party games, but in my opinion the system was awesome, include that it was only $150 at launch.
      • Actually the N64 was $199 at launch [wikipedia.org] in the US, that's about $250 in today's money. By comparison, that's not much less than the 360 ($299).
        • In comparison to the initial prices of the Playstation and Saturn, the N64 had a lower launch price.
        • "By comparison, that's not much less than the 360 ($299)."

          $399, you mean.
          • No, I mean $299. That's the price of the 360 Core. The $399 price gets you some extra accessories, none of which are essential - or included with previous consoles.
            • "The $399 price gets you some extra accessories, none of which are essential - or included with previous consoles."

              Wrong. For $299, you don't get ANY option to save your games. The Nintendo 64 cartridges had memory in them so you saved directly to the game. Even though NOBODY wanted the Core system, I'll concede to $339. The cost of the core unit with a memory card. I'll just ignore the whole backwards compatibility and some games not running on it until you upgrade thing.
              • I'll just ignore the whole backwards compatibility and some games not running on it until you upgrade thing.
                Probably wise, since the N64 wasn't BC at all and didn't offer any bugfix mechanism (and don't tell me none of the games had bugs). I'm not aware of any games which need the HD to run, patches or no patches. But I'll agree that you need some kind of storage to get the most out of the console (much like the PS/PS2/NGC, etc).
                • "I'm not aware of any games which need the HD to run, patches or no patches."

                  FFXI is supposed to require the hard drive. However, Microsoft has stated that they want their developers to work with both scenarios. Time will tell, so I'll let that argument rest for now. (That's what I get for talking about the 360 even though I don't own one. ;) )

                  There is a perceptual difference about the lack of a hard drive, though. As I mentioned, not many (and I mean very low numbers of people) wanted the Core system.
        • And a pocket calculator in the 1970's cost $345, which is more than $1600 in today's money. By that logic, the 360 is a steal. ;)

          I'm not picking on you in particular, just pointing out a fallacy that I see around here a lot. It's innacurate to compare prices to older technology, simply because the price of electronic components is decreasing so rapidly. It's virtually impossible to know whether the N64 or the 360 provides more tech for the dollar with respect to their own time frames.

          Again, don't take
    • I've seen the crap titles that launched with the 360
      Pardon? There were 19 launch titles, that's pretty good in itself. That list included one of the best racing games ever (PGR3), a pretty fine WW2 shooter (CoD2), and a decent survival horror game (Condemned). All those titles have over 80% average review scores. In my world that's not "crap". I also happened to really like Kameo, Quake 4 and Amped 3, but the praise was slightly less universal for those. I challenge you to compare the 360's launch line up
      • I thought by 'game mag law' all reviews have to be 80% or higher? ;) And arguably if out of 19 titles there is only one you think is kick ass and a couple that are pretty good, how amazing is the launch group really? I'm not saying they all suck, the xbox seems to be ok besides being associated with microsoft, but I'm holding out for the revolution of nintendo.
      • Let's all remember this is Slashdot.
        No RPG == Bad Console.
      • The SNES launched with Super Mario World, Pilotwings, F-Zero, Castlevania IV, Actraiser, and that's just off the top of my head.

        If we're talking "launch window" then I believe Sim City, Populus, Lemmings, Contra, and several other high profile games qualify as well.
        • According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (and I have no idea if this is accurate) the SNES in the US launched with a whopping 3 titles: Super Mario, F-Zero & Pilotwings. I never played Pilotwings but the other two certainly stand out as great games of their time. Even assuming Pilotwings was just as good, we're looking at 3 great games - the 360 easily provides that, plus considerably more variety.

          This isn't crazy MS fanboysim - I'm sure the PS3 and Rev will also have great launch lineups - but some people seem to have a
          • Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'll give you DOA4, and maybe GRAW, but there is no way Tomb Raider or Oblivion made the launch window. The 360 came out last year, the launch window ended December 31, 2005.
            • Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'll give you DOA4, and maybe GRAW, but there is no way Tomb Raider or Oblivion made the launch window. The 360 came out last year, the launch window ended December 31, 2005.

              But considering that Microsoft is relaunching [slashdot.org] the XBox360, one might argue that the launch window is still open. ;)
          • If we're talking "launch window" then I believe Sim City, Populus, Lemmings, Contra, and several other high profile games qualify as well.
            To which I offer GRAW, DOA4, Tomb Raider, Oblivion, etc. We can argue over which games we prefer for ever (though I have no intention of doing so!) but my point remains - the original assertion that the 360's launch lineup was "crap" is BS.

            You seem to forget, opinions are suggestive. The games are "crap (to me)" as long as there are none that I want to play.

  • by denisbergeron (197036) <DenisBergeron@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:12PM (#15150036)
    Do you see war somewhere ?
    How someone can speak about war, when only one soldier was there !
    Where PS3 ? Where Revolution ?
    When PS3 ? May be in 2007 ? May be !
    When Revolution ? May be in 2007 ? May Be !
    What a war !
    • by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:31PM (#15150218) Homepage
      In Japan, the gamecube is winning the current battle against the Xbox 360.
    • The Dreamcast could say the same thing at one point about its competition. First to the market means nothing, especially considering MS's problems getting them on the shevles of American retailers. They are only now able to meet demand. Of course, E3 is less than a month away, and if the PS3 and/or Revolution can show some hot stuff, I have a feeling many brand-neutral consumers will wait for those to hit shelves first before making a decision.
    • The buzz on the Revolution is that it will be 3rd-4th Q 2006. Nintendo has been very tight on any information on the Revolution, which is why they havn't needed to say that it is delayed. In a sense this is a good strategy. And don't compair this with "Duke Nukem: Whenever" either... Nintendo has done this in the past and has always come through with the product.

      Personally I am looking forward towards it. They are really the one one that is working on new features other then "bigger, better, faster graphi

    • Everything i've read has said that the revolution will be out by thanksgiving in time for the xmas shopping season. Personally i cant wait untill E3 and an official release date so i can pre-order the damn thing.
  • War? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:15PM (#15150065)
    Uh, there is no 'war' between Sony and Microsoft.

    Microsoft is nothing more than a company that came in last place in the current gen console race behind Nintendo. And Microsoft's second entry into the console market is doing roughly two to three times WORSE than the first Xbox.

    The 360 is:

    1) Completely dead in Japan
    2) Almost dead in Europe
    3) Sold a pathetic 190k consoles in March in the US - five months into its life and it is getting outsold by the six year old Sony PS2

    And there are 360 sitting unsold on store shelves in every major US retailer for over a month now. The 360 is on track to sell no more than three million units this year. That's one dead console.

    The 360 is a marketplace failure. No one outside of the most diehard of Dreamcast and Xbox fans gives a damn about the system. Notice the major switch to pushing Vista gaming recently by Microsoft... They see the writing on the wall for the Xbox project.

    The next gen race is going to be brutal between Sony and Nintendo - with Nintendo standing a good chance of actually outselling Sony in Japan this upcoming console cycle and selling probably around N64 levels in the US and Europe. Microsoft is no longer relevant to the console market.

    • Re:War? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oahazmatt (868057)
      Uh, there is no 'war' between Sony and Microsoft.
      Not with only one console on the market, no. PSP vs. 360 is hardly a war. But come December, I wouldn't be surprised to see some sort of commercial aggression.

      And there are 360 sitting unsold on store shelves in every major US retailer for over a month now. The 360 is on track to sell no more than three million units this year. That's one dead console.
      Actually, they are selling like crazy in my part of the woods. My area got royally shafted on supplies

    • Re:War? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MayonakaHa (562348) <mayonakaha AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:33PM (#15150245) Journal
      And there are 360 sitting unsold on store shelves in every major US retailer for over a month now.

      Someone send those unsold consoles down here to San Antonio so we can get all the customers off our backs! Every major and minor retailer here hasn't been able to keep them in stock more than a day. We got 18 of them the other day and sold out within 4 hours. I'm wondering if that 190K number is because the areas that need more consoles don't have them and the ones that have them in abundance have already sold to all the customers that wanted them.

    • No one outside of the most diehard of Dreamcast and Xbox fans gives a damn about the system.
      Why do so many people assume that dreamcast fans are also xbox fans?
      • by ronfar (52216)
        I think that's just intended as Flamebait, or else the comment author was raped by a Dreamcast fanboy at some point.
      • Maybe it's cause since WindowsCE "powered" (meaning some functions had something vaguely to do with WCE even though it usually sat off by the wayside, almsot never used) that Dreamcast fans MUST be XBox fans.. you know.. Microsoft and all.

        Personally, I love my Dreamcast and don't really care for either XBox. My friend left me his for a week and even modded and loaded up with videos and emulators and extra features, I touched it maybe three times that entire week. I usually either stuck with watching tv/dv

      • There's only this one troll who thinks that. He makes one or two posts in every XCircle story proclaiming how the "Dreamcast 360" will fail. I'm surprised he isn't pulling his "Cell is the second coming!" routine today.
    • Umm..best buy says they don't have a single premium 360 in any of their stores in ARIZONA. So much product on the shelves.
    • The meme police are looking for you. You're under arrest.

      Seriously, insisting that the 360 is dead just to get the idea out there when all other evidence indicates that it's doing just fine is getting a bit old. really. We're tired of it. People won't start thinking "the 360 is dead" just because you planted the idea in their heads. Not when numbers speak otherwise. And even if they did, you're only talking about the slashdot community, who probably wouldn't buy a microsoft product anyway.
  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @12:29PM (#15150197)
    After jumping ship from Microsoft to Infinium, like a dot-bomb era flea, Bacchus' opinions are worth next to nothing in my opinion. The man fucked the dog for the sake of a ridiculously obvious scam that's resulted in nothing but ridicule, frivolous lawsuits and vaporware; anything he has to say about the industry he clearly has no understanding of is a desperate attempt to rebuild his annihilated credibility.
  • I see the war being mainly between the 360 and the revolution, unless the following becomes true:
    1) The playstion 3 is NOT $600-700 as stated by a the french sony spokesman (no link, on /. backlog)
    2) They are able to hit xmas US 06 with ample supply (I think they will run into the same probs as the 360).

    Number 1 is based on the fact that 600-700 is way too much for a console. Buying another controller, recharge kit, and game, and you're already into middle ground PC costs, plus you can get a 360 and a revol
  • Everyone - and that doesn't mean just us geeks - knows that M$ has never built anything even remotely good before it hit version 3.0

    So whatever comes after the Xbox360 will be what's interesting. Xbox was just a test to see how many dumb people the console market offers (result: A lot). Xbox360 is M$'s try to do a proper console, and like windos 2.0 it's behind the competition and isn't there, yet. But Xbox720 (or whatever) will be like windos 3.0 - almost there, and good enough for way too many people.

    Ther

  • According to this [dsrevolution.com], the 360 is going nowhere in Japan (note: I can't vouch for the accuracy of the page, but I have no reason to doubt it). And these are recent numbers, about a month old. In addition, remember this:

    "Microsoft's head of games division, Peter Moore, has repeatedly said that there would be no true success for Microsoft without Xbox's success in Japan," Sensui said.

    Taken from a recent article here [reuters.com].

    Ok, so the 360 has been selling about 1000 a week in Japan. We're like, what, 15 weeks into the
  • An xbox360 at best buy costs $399.99--unless you go for the lesser core system for $299.99

    I can only assume that a ps3 will be in that higher price range, around $400 to $500 at release (and as a side note thats when MS will drop the 360's price, or offer free games with it, or free xbox live or something).

    A Mac Mini costs $599.99 and can dual boot into windows and then run all those MS compatible games.

    I think a lot of people are going to consider the nextgen consoles way too expensive for too few features
    • Yah right. Maybe someone with vision will make a console for adult males with jobs, as opposed to college students and kids. Maybe it will cost a few hundred bucks and make good use of a several-thousand dollar huge flatscreen HDTV. And maybe then, like the original nintendo, everyone who sees it will say "Wow!"
  • Winners? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by A Brand of Fire (640320) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @06:06PM (#15153065) Homepage

    And as always, the winners will be the consumers and the publishers.

    I don't wish to sound so pessimistic here, but I really can't see how -- between the 360 and the PS3 -- the consumers will be winners in this coming console generation (I don't think 'war' applies as it just seems like a pissing contest between Microsoft and Sony). Their development focus seems centered on the wrong things, for one. Number crunching, graphical horsepower, and 3rd party developer support is all fine and well, but it doesn't always make for fun games.

    The biggest issue, though, is price. The 360, adequately equipped with a selection of nearly-requisite accessories, is well over $400. And that's before the first game (I'm not counting Live! content because not everyone has broadband). When the PS3 is released, I suspect, as rumors have suggested, that it's price will be slightly higher. Games in this round are also expected to be more expensive for both consoles, and who wants to pay $70 for a sequel of a sequel that's lackluster at best?

    I remember rolling up into a Toys 'R Us back in the 80s and buying a brand new Nintendo Entertainment System for just under $100US. Yeah, a 'current-gen' console shortly after nation-wide rollout for UNDER ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Unthinkable nowadays, isn't it? Toss in my first game -- The Legend of Zelda -- and I was set and still under the $200 mark. New games? At the time, I rented them. If I liked them, I bought them, and they certainly didn't cost $70.

    Rising cost of living, rising gas prices, and the rising price of sub-standard entertainment (film, music, television, and video games)... I can't see how the consumers are winners.

    I'm not saying there won't be some good games on either console, but it's so bloody expensive. And for gamers on a budget, it's completely out of reach until sometime after the six-month mark when those pennies have been saved and the console price drops a bit. I mean, I don't even get to play many of the new PC games until they get into the $10-$20 bargain level because of financial issues.

    Nintendo, on the other hand, seems better-focused on providing an actual product at a price that's easier to swallow. They seem focused on fun, too, and while I'm sure it'll have its share of games that suck, I feel that the majority will be innovative and entertaining.

    The bottom line for all three companies is to push a product and make a profit, as it is with any company, really, but I believe Nintendo has a better hold on what people are after, and they seem to care more about their customer having fun. And in video games, it's about enjoying yourself. And it doesn't hurt that they also conscientious about costs to the consumer.

    In the end? Well, I'll probably end up buying all three consoles, wallet willing, but I foresee my first purchase in this generation being a Nintendo console.

    • Good point. I wanted to buy a Gamecube when it came out, but didn't do so until late 2003 (or maybe it was early 2004) when I was able to get it for $99. I mainly wanted it to play Zelda. However, speaking of titles, I've found that Gamecube titles come up woefully short against PS2/Xbox. I've always found the Gamecube selection to be much smaller. I'm in Iraq right now, and they sell games here for all consoles at the PX. Here too, I don't find too many titles. Some titles that are on the PS2 and XBox, are

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